PloS one 2017 02 1612(2) e0171684 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0171684
Over 90% of outpatient care in China was delivered at public hospitals, making outpatient experience in this setting an important aspect of quality of care.
To assess outpatient experience with different aspects of physician services at China’s public hospitals and its association with overcrowding of the hospital outpatient departments.
Retrospective analysis of a large survey of outpatient experience in Shanghai, China. We tested the hypotheses that patient experience was poorer with physician-patient communication, education, and shared decision-making and where and when there was greater overcrowding of the hospital outpatient departments. Ordered logistic models were estimated separately for general and specialty hospitals.
7,147 outpatients at 40 public hospitals in Shanghai, China, in 2014.
Patient experience with physician services were self-reported based on 12 questions as part of a validated instrument. Indicators of overcrowding included time of visit (morning vs. afternoon, Monday vs. rest of the week) and hospital outpatient volume in the first half of 2014.
Overall, patients reported very favorable experience with physician services. Two out of the 12 questions pertaining to both communication and shared decision-making consistently received lower ratings. Hospitals whose outpatient volumes were in the top two quartiles received lower patient ratings, but the relationship achieved statistical significance among specialty hospitals only.
Inadequate physician-patient communication and shared decision-making and hospital overcrowding compromise outpatient experience with physician services at Chinese public hospitals. Effective diversion of patients with chronic and less complex conditions to community health centers will be critical to alleviate the extreme workloads at hospitals with high patient volumes and, in turn, improve patient experience.